Thursday, July 16, 2009

there's no "I" in team, just meat.

Are the concepts of teamwork and individualism incompatible?

A "team", as I'm defining it, isn't just a group of people. A team is not a collection of individuals, it is a unity of individuals into one. When you're on a team, when you come together, with anyone else, it is because you share the same goal. A team could be essentially summed up as a group with a unified goal. That means that there isn't room for individuals. At least, not individual agendas.

Why does the soccer coach call "good teamwork" when you pass instead of trying to score alone? It's because you've recognized that your personal agenda (scoring) isn't as important as the collective agenda (scoring). [I'm not going to clarify that, you understand] So why is being a ball hog not "good teamwork"? After all, you're trying to score, right? Yes and no. You're trying to score... on your own. Team means that it doesn't matter who within the team achieves the goal, as long as the team's goal is achieved.

Does that mean that being on a team demands that I turn into a party-line-toeing zombie?

Nope. The compatibility between being an individual and being part of a group comes from the fact that you chose the group. It is a group composed of individuals united, but united because they chose - individually - to unite. Essentially, a team isn't possible without individualism. Does that mean that individualism is more valuable? I'm not sure, neither is really inherently good, but acting as an individual you are less likely to succeed than acting as a team.

I like to think that I'm an individual. But I know that I'm part of a group. Be that humanity in general, or a subdivision like a robotics team. But I also know that it's only because of my individuality that I participate in those groups. If my individual choice was to not participate in any groups, I'd be part of a group of non-group-participants. ["Anarchists have groups?" "Yes." "They assemble?" "I imagine so." "Doesn't that defeat the purpose?"]

I like to say that God loves us collectively as individuals. It's a paradox, sort of, but it makes sense to me. I'm me, I'm humanity.

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